JKI grapevine breeding stands for sustainable management of vineyards with robust and climate-adapted varieties. Our aim is to contribute to the preservation of the viticultural landscape. The new grapevine varieties are characterised by good resistance to pests and pathogens, but also to abiotic factors such as heat - with consistently high product quality. Red wine varieties like 'Regent' are established in the market. With 'Calardis Blanc' - after the old Franconian name "Calardiswilre" - for Geilweilerhof, the place where the Institute is located) , a new white wine variety with multiple resistances to powdery mildew, downy mildew and black rot is available. It is also characterised by high resistance to Botrytis and sunburn while ripening later in the season. Its wine quality is characterised by fruity and subtle flavours of passion fruit, blood orange and sliced apple with pleasantly tangy acidity.
The JKI grapevine breeding programme is one of the most successful in the world and is supported by our interdisciplinary breeding research, which elucidates the gene-trait relationship for breeding-relevant traits and marker development. Molecular genetic methods such as genome analysis, genome sequencing, and bioinformatics are used as well as state-of-the-art imaging and non-imaging AI-supported phenotyping techniques developed and applied. Furthermore, must and wine components are determined to describe wine quality . The resulting data are used to develop predictive models for important grapevine traits. This leads to markers (genetic fingerprints) for early diagnosis and selection of breeding material to increase the efficiency of breeding.
As a source of relevant traits, the JKI maintains one of the world's largest collections of grapevine varieties (gene bank) at Geilweilerhof. Its genetic diversity is preserved and used, but also investigated in terms of cultural history. Our findings, together with those of other research groups, find entry into the databases of our specialist information centre for grapevine and wine.